By Steve Mosco
The end of times did not come for gaming in 2012.
Resorts World Casino New York City hit the jackpot this year, becoming the single largest slot revenue gaming property in the country with more than $638 million in gross gaming revenues. The state was a big winner as well: The casino generated more than $435 million in tax revenues, with $280 million of that going directly to the state’s education fund.
“While we never doubted this would be a successful venture, we have far exceeded any and all expectations we had for 2012 and can’t wait to begin an even better 2013,” said Michael Speller, president of Resorts World at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park. “It’s clear that New Yorkers and tourists alike are aware that there is a wonderful, world-class casino experience right here in Queens — minutes, not hours, away.”
Speller said the increased education funding is a testament to the foresight of the state Legislature. When authorizing Video Lottery Terminals at state racetracks, the Legislature established a revenue-sharing model to directly benefit education.
But revenue for the state’s education coffers is only one of the benefits in 2012, according to Speller. The gaming guru said that in the past 12 months, the casino has created more than 3,000 jobs for New Yorkers, with a majority of those positions going to Queens residents. The casino has also donated more than 1 percent of its annual profits to dozens of local community organizations in the borough and citywide.
The casino welcomed more than 10 million visitors to the facility in 2012 and future visitors will see an increase in amenities. Speller said the casino is setting up a Jamaica Station Lounge, where free shuttles will run every 10 minutes for customers from Long Island and Manhattan and will double its bus frequencies to all major populated areas.
The initiative is expected to complement the casino’s new Metropolitan Transportation Authority connection to the A line, which is projected to open in early 2013 at the Aqueduct-North Conduit station.
“We are confident that as we continue enhancing our gaming and entertainment offerings for the next year, Queens and New York state will remain … the big winners at Resorts World Casino,” Speller said.
Genting New York, a subsidiary of the largest gambling company in England and Southeast Asia, opened the casino last fall, with 4,525 electronic slot machines and 475 electronic table games. The gaming giant converted the dilapidated grandstand at Aqueduct into an electronic gaming mecca packed with slot machines and a dizzying array of restaurants.
The Legislature began the process of amending the state constitution earlier this year to permit full table gaming. The next step in the process is another amendment and then the measure will go to voters in a referendum.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.